Outside Isn't A Destination

"Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones" (Larsen & Kreitzer, 2014). 

Nature is good for us! Surprise!

The obvious lack of it caused us to examine what happens without it. Being frogs in hot water, we probably have no idea how far away most of us live from 'outside' (an actual destination, separate from us). We mostly inhabit a 'built' world of our own design and do not follow the Earth's rhythms, hear owls at night, watch the sun come up or see the Milky Way. 

One study showed that Canadian teens spend an average of only 1 hour outside every day (Gordon, 2012). Another survey showed that 3 in 10 American adults do not spend any time outside on a daily basis (National Recreation & Park Association, 2014), of those adults that venture outside, most spend less than 30 minutes outside of a building. 

Do you believe that isn't having an effect on us; a creature that evolved based on the selection pressures nature presented to us?

So what if 'outside' wasn't a place to go spend 15 minutes walking in a park, or 30 minutes riding your bike (if you even do that). What if outside was - once again - the primary human environment? What if our built habitats were biophilic (containing abundant nature instead of reducing nature's presence)? What if our technology and lighting was based on normal rhythms instead of on overriding and interrupting those critical circadian patterns that are a foundation stone for our health? 

The idea of bio-alignment is not to dump our positive forward momentum (modernity!). You don't need to live in a hut and make leather goods, while skinning squirrels for stew. Food safety was greatly improved by refrigeration techniques. Disease was reduced by the applied use of hot water and soap. We don't have to recreate our past to get back into alignment with our planet. In fact, I would posit that if we don't re-align, we will continue to destroy the planet because we are so removed from it. We need reduce the barriers, both built and mental, between us and outside. My next post will tell you one step - a BIG, radical move - we've taken to do this. 

 

References

Gordon. (2012). Survey finds most teens spend less than an hour a day outside. Retrieved from: https://www.thestar.com/life/2012/09/25/survey_finds_most_teens_spend_less_than_an_hour_a_day_outside.html

Larsen & Kreitzer. (2014). How does nature impact our wellbeing? Retrieed from: http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

National Park and Recreation Association. (2014). Out Is In Report. Retrieved from: https://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpaorg/Tools_and_Resources/Park_and_Recreation_Month/Park%20and%20Recreation%20Month%20Omnibus%20Survey%20Fact%20Sheet%20FINAL.pdf